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Inadequate prerequisites for effective use of Swedish development aid

Despite being prioritised by the Government and Sida, collaboration between humanitarian aid and long-term development cooperation has not been given sufficient prerequisites to succeed. This limits the possibilities for effective use of Swedish aid resources, according to the Swedish National Audit Office.

Dried and cracked clay field with some green crop in the edge, close-up.

Photo: Jody Davis

Sida handles two types of aid: humanitarian aid and long-term development cooperation. Humanitarian aid is provided in case of disasters and emergencies, while long-term development cooperation is aimed at poverty reduction.

As the need for humanitarian aid has grown, collaboration between the two types of aid has become increasingly important. The Swedish Parliament (Riksdag) and the Government have therefore on several occasions underlined the importance of such collaboration where appropriate.

The Swedish NAO has audited whether the Government’s governance and Sida’s working methods have enabled such collaboration during the period 2015–2017. The audit shows that collaboration has been identified as a policy priority, but that there are shortcomings in terms of the prerequisites for translating this into practice. Deficiencies have been identified in the Government’s governance as well as in Sida’s operations.

“Collaboration is made more difficult by the fact that the Government has not established common strategy objectives for the humanitarian aid and the long-term development cooperation. The consequence is that Swedish aid is not as efficient as it could be, which ultimately has an adverse effect on people in countries we support,” says Stefan Lundgren.

Collaboration is also impeded by the limited possibilities for the two types of aid to finance and report interventions jointly.

“Sida’s contribution management system has the technical solutions required. But since Sida officers either do not know about it or find it too complicated, it is hardly used at all,” says Therese Brolin, project leader for the audit.

In practice, the possibilities for collaboration are also limited by the fact that Sida staff responsible in the partner countries, the so-called humanitarian focal points, do not always have enough time and skills for issues related to collaboration.

Recommendations

The Swedish NAO recommends the Government to establish common objectives at strategy level for humanitarian aid and long-term development cooperation.

Sida is recommended to:

  • ensure that there are governing documents that specify how collaboration should be implemented in the day-to-day work.
  • further develop working methods that facilitate collaboration in analysis, planning and formulation of objectives in aid interventions.
  • ensure that the existing technical facilities for co-financing and co-reporting contributions can be used in the day-to-day work where appropriate.
  • ensure that the humanitarian focal points have sufficient competence and working time to enable collaboration.

Press contact: Olle Castelius, phone: +46 8-5171 40 04.

Presskontakt: , telefon: 08-5171 42 06.

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Updated: 10 July 2019

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